The first 100% Romanian play in London–created by Romanians for the Romanian community–had its West End premiere at the Leicester Square Theatre. Suggestively called Aliens With Extraordinary Skills, it’s the product of determination and enthusiasm both on and off the stage. The artists involved have succeeded in bringing it to life through sheer self-belief, along with the support of a successful crowdfunding campaign.
The latest offering from Tales Told In Romanian, a project that’s been bringing Romanian theatre to London for the last three years, Aliens takes this enterprise to a new level. All is new and nothing is borrowed. The director (Mara Lubens), producer (Claudia Cirlig) and the cast are all successful Romanian artists established in London. The play’s also written by a Romanian playwright, living in New York, Saviana Stanescu.
What makes this event different though is its freshness and immediacy. Unlike many of the Tales Told series, it’s not a Romanian import, brought all the way to London, but the creation of artists who have already adapted to a new way of life abroad and share the same frame of references as the community they perform for.
The play tells the story of two immigrant clowns in America–a Moldavian girl Nadia (Elena Harding) and a Russian boy–Borat (Vlad Troncea) who try to follow the American dream while living in terror of being sent back home as their visas come to an end. They fall in love with “aliens” with Green cards, Bob (Andrei Gliga), and Lupita (Olivia Popica) and love to conquer all.
At first glance, this is the classic boy meets girl, and they live happily ever after. But don’t be fooled–it’s fresh, relevant, smart and told with great humor. The harsh reality they face is at odds with the American Dream they heard about through the grapevine. Nadia’s naivete is beautifully complemented by Lupita’s seasoned confidence, and together they offer you a view of a whole spectrum of experiences that make an “alien.” Meanwhile, when Borat’s reluctance to change and adapt gets him into trouble, the story of the alien becomes a more general one of life itself, where survival is indeed reserved for the fittest. If you throw into the mix great acting and staging, you have a most successful enterprise not to be missed.
This article originally appeared in Central and Eastern European London Review on March 30th, 2016, and has been reposted with permission.
This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.